Ball State iLearn office to host open house

The Ball State iLearn office will be holding its open house on Monday in an attempt to advertise its services to faculty members on campus.

The iLearn: Integrated Learning Institute open house will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Ball Communication Building Room 220. Basic tutorials and tours will be provided during the time, as well as food and light refreshments.

The institute is meant to educate faculty members on the technological opportunities within the classroom, both online and blended. iLearn offers services such as mentoring and workshops, course website assistance and student engagement techniques.

Though the iLearn offices have been open since the beginning of last semester, the lack of traffic prompted the institute to host an open house to get the word out about its various amenities.

"We're having our open house now because we're past that initial startup period where we're just getting things off the ground," Richard Edwards, lead instructional designer, said. "Now is a good time for the faculty to come in and see us. We are already assisting lots and lots of faculty, but we're really hoping to spread the word a little more through this open house."

This Integrated Learning Institute relies on instructional designers such as Edwards to appropriately instruct educators on how to use online resources more effectively, especially considering that most students enrolling in classes have been exposed to the internet since they were born.

"Our instructional designers work with the faculty one-on-one to help make sure that their courses are embracing the best practices for teaching online or blended courses," Edwards said. "We also have workshop leaders and trainers that help create the lessons and tutorials that help the faculty gain new skills and learn new information about teaching in online environments."

While iLearn teaches instructors about utilizing new online devices and resources, they also offer ways to best employ existing university course tools.

"Part of our charge is to definitely make sure that we are maximizing our potential with the technologies that Ball State has already invested in," Edwards said. "Yes, we support what we already have at the university, like Blackboard, and it's the goal of iLearn to assist faculty to get the most they can out of these tools."

Professors that have enlisted the services of the Integrated Learning Institute so far have been impressed by the services provided, though are skeptical about the possibilities of finding a large audience.

"They taught me how to use Blackboard more efficiently and much more usefully," Ryan Jeske, an assistant professor of chemistry, said. "It seems to me like this is a very useful resource, but a lot of professors don't have a lot of extra time in their schedules to learn about the online resources out there or how to use them. That could be a drawback. But from what I understand, it seems very useful for those that find the time."


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